Last week we breached the topic of genetic testing and how it can affect mental health treatments. This week we wanted to dive in a little deeper and zero in specifically on dual diagnosis. But what exactly is dual diagnosis and why is it so important to the treatment of dependency and addiction? Good question and you certainly aren't the first to ask. Before we get into clinical definitions, let's talk a little about alcohol and drug addiction.
When you become addicted to a substance it's because your body needs it to function properly and your mind is telling you that the only way to feel normal is to take more of it. Withdrawal symptoms become worse the more dependent you become, so you self-medicate taking more to alleviate those symptoms. Unfortunately in doing so, you are feeding the monster of addiction. The more you take and the more often you take it, the more you need to bring yourself to a feeling of normalcy.
Although you probably already know all this, it's an important recap to better understand the problems associated with the mental health issues that come along with addiction as the substance (drug or alcohol) has rewired the brain and body to the point of dependency.
Nobody is Perfect - The Goal is Being the Best Version of Ourselves
Everyone's brain is wired slightly differently at birth, and there are numerous brain and behavioral disorders that we all have or develop, some become more pronounced as we grow up and age. No one is perfect, and there is even a psychological disorder for those of us who think we are. So, just remember, no one is perfect, and there is no such thing as average. That average baseline that psychologists might refer to doesn't exist in a single living individual.
Drug and alcohol abuse exacerbates any mental health issue we already have, or are genetically predisposed to. In fact, many of us are actually predisposed to certain addictions. You've probably heard people talk about someone with an 'addictive personality' (cite: 1). Whether or not they realize it, this is what they are referring to, and how that phrase started.
Now back to a more clinical definition of Dual Diagnosis. Dual Diagnosis is treating the whole person - treating your mental health situation and your dependency. Each must be diagnosed properly before a carefully crafted treatment strategy can be devised.
Genetic Predispositions, Mental Health Issues, and Long-Term Substance Abuse
Sometimes folks become addicted because of a genetic predisposition to alcohol or drug addiction. Sometimes a mental health issue will lead them to get started using drugs or become unable to handle it once they do start. Often, long-term drug use or alcohol abuse, or both can cause a mental health issue that wasn't present before they started. Perhaps it is something that runs in the family. Perhaps it has a genetic component.
Either way, you cannot expect a successful outcome to a dependency treatment program if both issues; mental health and drug addiction are not treated together. This is where dual diagnosis becomes so vitally important (cite: 2).
We Understand How to Treat Addiction and Dependency
Remember, everyone is different, so no two treatment programs ought to be the same. The best chance for success in any treatment program is to take into consideration all the factors present. Then a 'customized treatment' strategy with a specific timeline can be administered. It's easier said than done and this is one of the reasons most drug rehab centers can't match LifeSync Malibu’s success rate.
Our Founder, Dr. Geoffrey Booth, has spent a career preparing customized, personalized, and tailor-made treatment programs for folks like you, taking into account your exact circumstances. This includes, among many other things; the duration of your usage, the amounts used, emerging mental health issues, your lifestyle, and your genetics and family history. We want to help you get back to being the best possible version of yourself. Take your life back now, we are here to help. Give us a call. Come visit our beautiful facility and our great team.
1.) "The Addictive Personality is the Behavior of the Addict," by Peter E. Nathan, published in The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1998.
2.) "Subtyping and Tailoring Treatment Approaches," by Alan I. Greene and Robert E. Drake, published in The Journal of Dual Diagnosis. 11 (1), 1-2, 2015.